CND claims people still at risk from 1958 accident

 

BRITISH CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) yesterday called for a full public inquiry into an alleged serious nuclear accident at Greenham Common almost 30 years ago.

Mr Bruce Kent, CND's vice president, said lives in the Newbury area of Berkshire were still at risk from radioactive contamination. He called for an immediate evacuation of the area.

Mr Kent's comments came as CND published a leaked classified report which, it claims, proves there was a serious nuclear accident at the former US air base in 1958. The allegations centre around an incident at Green ham when a B47 aircraft caught fire.

The incident is a matter of public record - but CND said the jet was loaded with nuclear bombs similar to those dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of the second World War.

Live warheads containing uranium and plutonium exploded and contaminated dust scattered over the surrounding countryside, according to CND.

Mr Kent said: "There are very grave implications not only for public health, but also for democracy. It is wicked that people should have been deceived for so long."

The allegations have been denied by the Ministry of Defence. A spokeswoman said: "There was no nuclear accident at Green ham Common. There was an incident in 1958 involving a B47 aeroplane. At the time there was speculation it was a nuclear accident. It was not."

Scientists at Aldermaston completed a secret report into levels of uranium contamination in 1961. The report, released by CND, says levels of uranium were 100 times greater than they should have been. A map shows the epicentre of the contamination to be Greenham Common's runway.

The document states: "We suggest that in fact a nuclear weapon may have been carried with the aircraft and burned with it."

Mr Eddie Goncalves, who undertook a year long investigation for CND, said there had been a conspiracy of lies and secrecy surrounding the issue. "The only way to get to the bottom of this jigsaw is for all log base records and diaries to be released."

At risk, he says, are not only the 100,000 residents in West Berkshire and North Wiltshire but also thousands of people who worked or protested at the base and those who attended international air shows there.